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Board renews contracts with Karr, Harte school leaders; enrollments rising

New school construction, school leader contracts and a partnership with the Algiers Charter Schools Association dominated discussion Monday night as the InspireNOLA board of directors gathered for their January meeting.

The board voted to let president Wayne Crochet sign renewal contracts with both John Hiser, the head of Edna Karr High School, and Jamar McKneely, head of Alice M. Harte Charter School.* McKneely said small details were still under review, but that he was confident differences would be ironed out.

The size of the new Karr school remains unclear, with some board members and staff fearing it may not be large enough to fit a growing enrollment.

“I’d hate to see us open a new building and have to put portable classrooms on it,” Hiser said.

The new school is expected to cost $43.8 million and accommodate an enrollment of 1,100 students. Currently, Karr’s enrollment stands at 1,044 students.  Harte’s new campus, set to open for the 2014-2015 school year, was built to house 660 students but the school enrollment already comes to 740 students, McKneely said.

Hiser said that in the next few weeks, he expects reimbursement for financial services and human resource management provided to the Algiers Charter School Association under a continuing partnership with the Algiers network. Karr and Harte were part of the ACSA before the schools switched to management by InspireNOLA under the supervision of the Orleans Parish School Board.

Hiser also reported that on 12 Karr students plan to sign letters of intent to accept football scholarships at colleges and universities across the country, by far the most of any graduating class.

All board members attended the meeting. The next meeting will be Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Karr library.

*Correction: This story originally misreported the name of Edna Karr High School. (March 19, 2014)

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